Sumitomo Mitsui Seeks Role in Saudi Aramco's IPO, Chairman Says

(Bloomberg) -- Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. is seeking to work with Saudi Arabian Oil Co. on its initial public offering, Chairman  Masayuki Oku said as his bank signed a business agreement with the world’s biggest crude producer.

"We want to assist" with the offering, Oku told Bloomberg News in Tokyo on Thursday. Saudi Arabia is preparing to sell a stake in the company known as Saudi Aramco that could raise as much as $100 billion in the biggest IPO ever.

Mizuho Financial Group Inc. also signed a memorandum of understanding with Aramco to cooperate on business, the Tokyo-based bank said in a statement. Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., the main lending unit of Japan’s largest bank, is also expected to sign, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is leading a delegation of Saudi officials on a visit to Japan and China, giving the Asian nations a chance to deepen energy ties with the oil producer. Japan’s trade ministry has asked Aramco to list its shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this week. Selling about 5 percent of the oil company is key to the deputy crown prince’s plan to expand the nation’s economy beyond petroleum.

For a QuickTake explainer on Aramco’s IPO, click here.

Japan’s biggest banks are accelerating efforts to deepen ties with clients abroad like Aramco to counter slowing loan demand and shrinking interest rates at home.

Sumitomo Mitsui would like to work on more funding deals including project finance in Saudi Arabia, Oku said. Mizuho will enhance support to Aramco as it works to transform its business portfolio, the Japanese lender said in its statement.

--With assistance from Shigeru Sato, Shingo Kawamoto and Gareth Allan. To contact the reporter on this story: Emi Urabe in Tokyo at eurabe@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Marcus Wright at mwright115@bloomberg.net Russell Ward

Copyright 2016 Bloomberg News.

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